Man, do *I* have a story for *YOU*...
I wanted to get my hair chemically relaxed, so I went where I usually get my hair cut. The lady was an older white lady and she was nice enough and said it would be no problem. She'd use a solution and huge rollers to straighten my hair.
To her horror, and mine, another hairdresser, an African-American woman, found out what she was doing and then they proceeded to wash out the perm, which was already nice with big waves, but she insisted that relaxer is what I needed, not perm solution.
So she put on relaxer on my hair. It stank. It burned.
When it was all done, I had the most horrible hair on the planet. It was frizz dried, fried looking, looked like a mop of ugly pubic hair.
Later in college, I used kiddie relaxer, which worked, but left the ends looking ugly and it just made my hair flat and straight, not straight with any kind of volume.
I quit after a few times and haven't put anything to straighten my hair since, but I continued to use blow dryer on the highest heat setting and pulling my hair straight with a brush. Then the new Raphaelite curls were on the runway and with people like Faith Hill and every celeb sporting romantic curls, I thought I could just let my hair be and my curly hair would be 'in' for once.
If I let my hair dry by itself, it looked ugly, frizzy, and stupid. It didn't look romantic at all. In fact, it looked so bad, that one day, I was going to get my haircut, so I left the house after I showered, but the salon had a wait, so I called up my boyfriend to go have lunch with me somewhere. By that time my hair had dried naturally. He took one look at me and laughed his ass off for 30 minutes straight. He almost cried he was laughing so hard.
I finally did some research on how to get the curly style and how to style curly hair, and I stumbled on the no-poo stuff and Lorraine Massey's book information online.
And here we are!
I still use a blow dryer, but it's at a lower heat setting, and I don't blow dry it bone dry, nor bone straight.
My hair is much happier now
I even have new growth and length to my hair now.
Things I use that have been working wonderfully:
- Suave Tropical Coconut conditioner - as a base for no-poo and for conditioning.
- Baking Soda
- Essential oils like Tea tree oil, orange, and lavender.
On days I feel I need to 'shampoo' I get a tablespoon or less of baking soda and mix it with the conditioner, mix it up completely and use that to scrub my scalp and hair. I keep that on for a few minutes and then rinse. Sometimes I squirt diluted apple cider vinegar on my hair, or if I want super silky hair, I'll get some more conditioner and squirt some apple cider vinegar in the fresh conditioner and THAT, my friends, turn into a super luxurious acidifying conditioner. Other days, if I just use the plain conditioner after doing the conditioner-baking soda mix, my hair feels a little rough and feels dry at the ends, but it's big and huge and looks nice.
One some days, I can get away with putting tea tree oil or lavender on my scalp and 'mock-shampooing' with that. Or I can shampoo with conditioner only. I pretty much experiment everyday.
I'll use Avalon shampoo on rare occasions where I feel uber dirty, like the other day when I was stripping the paint off some furniture and sweeping pollen off my balcony. I didn't want to chance having that crap in my hair, so I shampoo'd with Avalon, which has low risk in chemicals.
I want to experiment using baking soda, essential oils, and aloe. Think that would make a nice 'un-shampoo'?
Ladybug: to help restore your current hair a little bit, try lots of apple cider vinegar or the apple cider vinegar plus silicone free conditioner that I mentioned. You can even do deep treatments with olive oil once a week. That will make your hair restore some of it's shine and smooth some of the damage until the damage grows out.